Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

What has happened to us?

12 Comments

Confusion. Guilt. Grief. Embarrassment. Hopelessness. Sad.

All these feelings swirled around inside my head last night as I watched the news. And they are somewhat subdued but still hovering in my mind this morning as I watch the analysis unfolding.

Many people, much more eloquent than I, will write about the incidents in Louisiana and Minnesota that apparently led to last night’s multiple killings in Texas. Me, I’m wondering if these latest incidents will wake us all up. Because maybe our country never made the progress with race relations that we middle class, middle aged, white people liked to believe . Maybe social media and a continuous news loop have made that painfully obvious. It’s more difficult to ignore, erasing our excuses that we didn’t know.

Last night I watched black male adults relate conversations they’d had with their own parents about being safe out in public. Conversations they’ve had to have with their own children. Conversations I never had growing up, never considered. In my white bread life we were taught to be respectful to police officers, but the men killed in Louisiana and Minnesota didn’t seem disrespectful. Just black.

Of course there may be more to these stories. But neither event is an excuse for what occurred in Dallas. Ever.

So as we all wake up this morning it’s hard not to contemplate that seven men are not waking up. That their families must be feeling as though they are living a nightmare that will never end.

And so I am feeling confused about my version of history that is now challenged. I’m feeling guilty about my sheltered life. I am feeling grief for the loss of good people. All seven of them. I’m feeling embarrassed that I didn’t understand, even after seeing this sort of thing on the news over and over, the reality of life outside my own existence. I’m feeling hopeless faced with the enormity of the problem.

And I’m feeling sad.

Race. It’s like the gun issue and the truck issue. Only bigger. It’s an overarching social issue that changes the trajectory of our country. We can choose to go down the spiral of hate and revenge. Or we can use this time to sit together at the table and talk. And then follow up with the hard work that is required.

Let’s not fool ourselves any longer. Change is hard.

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Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

12 thoughts on “What has happened to us?

  1. I had a black student telling me about an issue he was having with his white neighbors when he took his dog out for a walk. They were yelling at him to keep his dog away from their cat, who was under a car. He was doing his best to steer his dog away from the car, and told them politely that his dog would not hurt the cat. He’s a good dog. The neighbors continued to harrass him.

    Then he said, “I was really hoping they weren’t going to call the police. I would’ve been arrested.”

    I said, “But you weren’t doing anything wrong. Your dog was leashed and under control.”

    He said, “You don’t understand. I’m black and I have a pitbull. I would’ve been in handcuffs.”

    He’s right.

    All I could say was, “I’m so sorry Honey. You don’t deserve that.”

    His mother gave him a “white name”, in hopes that he would face less discrimination. That is something white people would never have to consider.

    As a white person, I know I will never truly understand what it is like to be black in our country.

    All I know is I worry about my young, black male students all the time. Spend a few minutes with them, and you’d know they are the sweetest boys on earth. We need to do better.

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    • We need to do a lot better. First step would be for everyone to get to know everyone else. When you know a person face to face it’s harder to label. Or hate. Or allow someone else to do those things without speaking up.

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  2. It’s just so upsetting. I’m not sure how to stop all this and why this keeps happening. I sure the police have a warped sense of who is committing crimes. They probably do deal with more black crime then white (real or precieved) It reminds me when I worked in the children’s hospital. I only ever saw the kidney transplants that didn’t work. The ones that came back in repeatedly and then the kidney failed and they would get another kidney transplant. We never saw the successful ones. Theses kids weren’t admitted to the hospital, then were followed in the outpatient clinics. So my view of kidney transplants was, “why would anyone do this, they just fail”. Some of the kids even died. They probabaly needed to let the floor nurses work in the outpatient clinic once every few months, so they could see all the successful ones. Maybe then need to have the cops work with the kids and teens in the neighborhoods that they cover. Or go the the church events in there covered areas. This will give them a more personal connections and view them in a less aggressive manner. (This is just my opinion, it may not be correct)

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    • I think you are very correct. There has to be more connections between police and the communities they serve. Every event they attend as participants rather than protectors will strengthen the ties. Some towns do stuff like this regularly. Some don’t. It would be interesting to see what the crime statistics are in different communities. I think your analogy is good.

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  3. Indeed, change is hard. There are too many white people who don’t see themselves as part of the problem and look on and say, “well, they shouldn’t have been doing that…..” Change begins with me. I think we need to spend more time looking out and thinking in. As an aside, I have a taillight that is out, I need to repair it – probably a twenty to thirty minute fix, but I have yet to be stopped for it. Today has got to be a better day. Peace.

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    • And if you WERE stopped odds are you wouldn’t be shot for reaching for anything. I’m hoping for a better day today. Hoping.

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      • Dawn, I was stopped on US 2 Saturday afternoon. I kept my hands on the wheel, had the documents I need in hand, the window down, and a respectful attitude. I was angry at myself for the situation I was in. He could’ve busted me for a taillight, but I was driving 71 in a 55. I got the ticket and reminder to slow down. I liked your post and linked it to mine. Today has got to be a better day. Gotta be, be the change we want to see. Peace.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It is so disheartening, isn’t it? And I just don’t get it. But then how could I? I grew up white, privileged in ways other than money and continue to live a pretty sheltered life. Social media makes us hyper vigilant now and aware of things that have escalated and it is so difficult to figure out how to be the change. Change is hard. But we can do better.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am weary. I lived through the 50s and 60s, coming out with the hope that we all had learned something and could move forward in a more loving way. These days I read/watch the news and feel defeated and like I could cry. Have we learned nothing from our history?

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  6. Like you, Dawn, I’m frustrated at this whole situation. While we never can really walk in another’s shoes, I think it’s important that we listen…really listen…to them and TRY to understand them. We’re all part of God’s family, and I can’t imagine He’s happy over watching His kids shout and shoot at each other. And just knowing how wrong we were about how far we thought we’d come is maddening.

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  7. Good piece on “privilege” in new issue of ACLU magazine, “Stand,” by Sasheer Zamata. But grief is so numbing. You are brave, Dawn, to write about it.

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